Ordinary Time

I had the privilege to speak at REUNION this past Sunday on Luke 9:28-50. A lot is going on in the text, but I stumbled across something new (to me) in the process of preparing.

In the Catholic Church (and other “high” church traditions that use a liturgical calendar), the season, or period of time, in between Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter is called:

Ordinary Time!

Which is awesome. Literally, this has some Latin root tied to the idea of counting a period of time, so it really refers to how many Sundays there are from Epiphany to Ash Wednesday.

It’s also grown to refer to a general down-swing in the Church Calendar. Advent and Lent are High (or Strong) seasons, and the time in between is Ordinary.

This is fascinating for a couple of reasons. First, there’s something to recognizing the natural rhythm of highs and lows in life and building that into the church calendar.

Second, as a “clergy” I respect the recognition that ministry in High seasons needs to be followed by a slower pace for a time (like summer is for Campus Ministers).

But I also think there’s a part of us that views High Seasons as better. We like the spectacular and the exciting but dread the mundane and the regular. Or, to use the Luke text as an example, we want to stay on the mountain and avoid the “real world” full of stubborn demons and quarrelsome people.

Now, check this out. Each season has a symbolic color…these can differ depending on traditions, but, the Catholic Church, for example, uses violet for Advent.

And it uses green for Ordinary Time.

Green which represents, rebirth, new life, even resurrection.

How awesome is that! Perhaps it’s the moments, the seasons, the periods of time that feel the most like drudgery, like a fight, that seem mundane and unspectacular that are the fertile ground for something new, for a resurrection.

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